So you can read my books

Tuesday, June 6, 2023



I have been waiting for Sept. 9th for awhile now. Charlaine Harris had found a way to keep life in her new series past the third book:

Bring a secondary character into the forefront as I have done with various series of mine.

Now, something has gone wrong. I can get the kindle and hardback still ... but not the audiobook!

Even the ghost of Mark Twain is bummed.



     C'mon, admit it: you skim over the "boring parts" as you read print.  It's instinctive by now.

     But skimming robs you of the power and purpose of the words you skim!


     The sounds of the words will bleed into your own writing.  You will begin to "see" words as images.

     It will limit your use of HE SAID/SHE SAID in every line of dialogue.

     Don't tell me those words are invisible to readers -- only to you as you block them out as you write.

     You'll discover new ways to add pauses to the spoken lines.


     Maybe in your voice.  Maybe in the voice of your favorite narrators.

     It will spotlight "kinks" in your paragraphs.

     The audio's will create a Theater of the Mind letting you see words as images.


     Stephen King stresses that the more you read the deeper your perspective will be in your books.

     You'll read in places you couldn't with a print book: in bed, exercising, gardening, commuting.

     You'll discover favorite narrators and seek out books they narrate no matter the genre and 

your literary horizons will expand, enriching your prose, breathing new ides into your future novels.



     I got Arthur C Clarke's 2001 for $2!  The intro was by Clarke himself, detailing the unique way he wrote the book.

     I got BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S read by Michael C Hall of DEXTER fame (great narrator) for $2!

     Craig Johnson of LONGMIRE fame detailed at the end of one of his books the origin of his hero and how he writes.  Great lessons.



     You'll learn new words from their use in context of the action of the novels.  

     You'll repeat crutch words less as you insert the new words into your prose.


ONLY $15.49!

Elu finally escapes his Mirror Prison only to face an insane Abraham Lincoln and 

the eternal prankster Mark Twain ... which fate is worse would be hard to say!

Here is John Two-Hawks and Nightwish with lyrics

Alice Wentworth hears Creek Mary's Blood
in her mind as she rides against unbeatable odds

Monday, June 5, 2023




“You shall not be the worse for this - I promise you. You will be much the better for it. Just believe what I say, and do as I tell you. ” 

– Sentient


The Voice, no Sentient, She wanted me to call her Sentient.  Anyway, obviously, Sentient didn’t believe in giving me a break.

The copper snowflakes thinned slowly, then faded altogether.

I rocked on my feet violently. No one around me noticed. They were clearly too busy being terrified. Salty wet spray splashed on my feet.

Oh, Merde.

I was in one of the Higgins landing crafts I had just been talking about with General Bradley. The man still could not stand looking at me … all for something I had no memory of doing. 

Sentient had been in full control then. Nine out of ten of us would be killed on that damn beach ahead of us. 

Would me bring killed just now satisfy him? 

Sentient must hate me.

Being dumped on Omaha Beach with Sgt. Savalas that midnight to collect sand samples to be studied to see if tanks would sink or not was bad enough. Now this.

Inside my head, Sentient was murmuring to just trust Her. Yeah, right. The man beside me was spilling all the bullets he was trying to push into his pistol clip.

I stiffened as a strange thing happened: like in the credits of some movies, words appeared beneath his face. I read:

Rabbi Amos Stein. Lieutenant, father of one daughter, Rose,  husband of Ruth Goode Stein. At 31 years of age, he was already accomplished before enlisting. He followed in his father’s footsteps, became ordained and received a PhD. Enlisted after the M.S. St. Louis filled with 937 Jewish refugees was denied permission to dock in Miami and turned away. A third of the passengers to be later murdered.

I was still me … so far. I reached out and gently took the pistol from his trembling fingers. “Here, Amos. Let me.”

My right hand tingled. Suddenly cold bullets filled my palm. I thumbed them carefully, calmly into the clip as I had seen him try to do.

I gently handed it back to him. “All ready to fight the Nazi Scourge.”

It was often said that we all died alone. Maybe. But if you died next to someone who was just as scared as you, someone who you had touched in a small act of compassion, and whose life was made the better by it even in some small way, did it help?

I would soon find out.

His mouth was still a bit slack. “H-How did you do that? W-Where did the bullets come from?”

I smiled sadly. “It’s a kind of magic.”


"How lucky you are to have someone that makes saying goodbye so hard." 

- Sister Ameal

    Sunday, June 4, 2023


     A bit more of my WIP, SAME AS IT NEVER WAS


    "The lessons one learns at St. Marok’s are not always the ones this school thinks it’s teaching."

    – Richard Blaine


    Miss Mayfair shook her head as if by doing so, she could shake loose the attacking thoughts stinging her mind.

    “Enough of that. I truly wonder if Miss Treadwell graduated from an accredited college at all, judging from the way she used, or should I say, misused the Dewey Decimal System. The books in this library are all terribly misplaced and sorted.”

    She looked at me impishly. “You do know the Dewey Decimal System, do you not?”

    I returned her look. “It’s one of the few systems I live by.”

    “Well, then, you go to the far end of this library, and I shall start here by the desk rearranging the books properly. We will meet in the middle as do all intelligent people.”

    After only a few minutes, it was plain her plan would not work, and she muttered, “This is horrendous. Why did Stearns hire her if she knew so little about library science?”

    I did not think he hired her for her brains, but I kept that to myself. It might lead her to thinking how he had tried to “sell” her to one of the houses of prostitution around this orphanage for her body. Least said, least egg on my face, and one less foot in my mouth.

    I smiled and said nothing. I caught my heart beating faster as I walked closer to her. I frowned. First love is dangerous only when it is also the last. Sadly, first love is only slightly less perishable than human life here in the French Quarter.

    I was surprised to see the thin, stiff-bound “On the Perceptual Content of Quantum Theoretical Kinematics and Mechanics” by Werner Heisenberg in my right hand. Though it had been written in 1927, I still found it fascinating.

    Miss Mayfair’s face went suddenly pale as she looked over my left shoulder. La merde. I turned around, expecting the worst and getting it. “Bent” Murcham.  

    Where the late unlamented Donny Jenkins liked to hurt people. “Bent” liked to kill them. He had proven more useful to Stearns than Donny.  So much so that the Headmaster had gotten rid of all his victims, not just the ones Stearns had pointed out to him.

    "Bent" flashed a shark’s smile. “You never made it to your cot at the dorm last night, Dickie boy. And we had such a nice party planned for you and everything.”

    His eyes grew as cold and flat as wet stones on the beach. “Me and the boys liked Donny and Stearns.”

    “No, you feared them.”

    His face grew as remote as a surgeon's face might just before he amputated a leg. "You should fear us."

    "I do ... like I do coiled rattlers."

    Thursday, June 1, 2023

    Remember This Heartbeat ... For It Is the Beginning of Always


    I received a few emails asking if my snippet of my new novel was its beginning.

    I realized perhaps I should give you a taste of the start.



                                          “I held an atlas in my lap,

    ran my fingers across the whole world
    and whispered
    where does it hurt?

    it answered

    - Warsan Shire



    “For Man there is no being good, merely no present opportunity to be bad.”

    – Sentient           


    It is always something of a bother to time date these entries.

    You see, I have hopscotched along realities and possibilities for so long that I should have mental whiplash.

    In a time yet to be, a strange fellow with the stranger name of Snoop Dog told me: ‘You’ve got to go back in Time if you want to move forward.’

    Childhood is pretty far back, isn’t it?

    So. let’s start there, shall we? For as long as I can remember, I have heard the Voice. Not voices, mind you. I am crazy. Just not that crazy.

    If you are religious, you might be thinking Isaiah 30:21 Whether You Turn Right or Left, Your Ears Will Hear a Voice Behind You, Saying, This is The Way; Walk in It.

    No, I never thought the Voice was God’s since it was female. One of the first things God made was Man. If God was female, the first thing She would have made would have been chocolate.

    The Voicc was always faint. Sometimes nearly loud enough to understand a word or two … but not quite. It was quite maddening.

    In some nightmares, the Voice sounded louder if I took one way or lower if I took another. The nightmares went better if I went along down the loud path. But not always. I guess that fearful uncertainty was what made it a nightmare.

    What could a kid have nightmares about, you ask? I was an orphan at St. Marok’s in New Orleans. If you were a native of the “Twilight City,” that last sentence would explain everything. Of course, the radio and newspapers being full of Hitler steamrolling all across Europe did not exactly fill my head with visions of sugar plumbs as dance partners.

    Besides, the waking hours in St. Marok’s were nightmare enough. Located in one of the most dangerous parts of the French Quarter, it received no church or city funding. How Headmaster Stearns kept the place running was a mystery to me. Why we were all malnourished and hungry was not.

    Only the prettiest of the girls and most handsome of the boys found enough food on their plates. The rest of us were not envious. Those orphans soon disappeared.

    The talk was that Stearns sold them to the different “Houses of Pleasure” all around us. Was it true? Who knew? I just knew I was glad I was nothing special.

    I kept to the middle of  the pack. The scared, dumb orphans hunched in the far back. They may as well have hung a sign around their necks in red paint: ‘Don’t pick on me.’ What bully could resist that, right?

    I was smarter than that. Too smart … and stubborn. I refused to do less than my best in all the tests. That particular bit of brilliance on my part shone a spotlight on me for all the dim-witted but burly bullies.

    It also brought me to the attention of Sister Ameal and let me know that the Voice could do something that scared me to the bone.

    That fateful morning, I heard a low buzzing in my head as I started down the second story stairs to my algebra class. Suddenly, my whole body twisted sharply to my right smack up against the wooden railing without my willing it.


    Donny Jenkins flew past me as he missed the shove he had aimed at my back. He tumbled awkwardly down the stairs to land with his head bent all wrong. I did not have to be a doctor to know he was dead.

    Down on the first floor, Headmaster Stearns roared, “Mr. Blaine, what did you just do?”

    Now, what else was wrong with me? The Voice was bad enough. Now, this?

    My head still spinning from having lost control of my body to some outside force, I said the first thing to come to me.  “Got out of his way, sir.”

    A few of the knuckleheads behind me chuckled at that. Stearns was not amused. I cursed at myself for not thinking before I spoke.

    “You think that funny, Mr. Blaine?”

    I forced out of a fear-thick throat,  “N-No, sir.”

    “Indeed not, young man. You have just bought yourself a one-way trip to the reform school with that stunt.”

    “No, he has not, Stearns!” a harsh voice snapped from the open front door.

    I looked down and saw for the first time the wiry body of Sister Ameal. It was an odd name for a nun, so I looked it up. I spent a lot of time in the library. I mean when you were threatened there at least they whispered.

    Ameal was a parish in Coimbra, Portugal. Maybe she was originally from that country, To me, she did not look Portuguese, but I was hardly a world traveler … at least not then.

    “Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. If you can bend space, you can bend time also, and if you knew enough and could move faster than light you could travel backward in time and exist in two places at once.”

    – Sentient

    Tuesday, May 30, 2023



    I have been struggling with the last novel in my DARK HOLLYWOOD series for nearly a year now.

    I decided to try Mark Twain's remedy and start writing an entirely new novel.

    It worked.

    Set in early WWII New Orleans, my story can tap into already researched material.

    Think of it as FRINGE meets BAND OF BROTHERS.

    In two days, I have written over 3000 words.

    Sister Ameal slapped me aside the head and tugged me into the library with a jerk of iron fingers around my left arm. The slap had been a hard one, too. Sister Ameal was not a soft anything. Of course, Miss Mayfair saw the whole thing. I sighed. I did not have bad luck, mind you, just strange luck. It still sucked lemons.

    It did make Miss Mayfair smile though, so it was not a complete loss. Her smiles were something to see. I never saw eyes so green or hair such a color … strawberry blonde I believe they called it.

    Yes, I was smitten. She was not that much older than I was. Dreams, fragile things though they are, were all you had to get you through a place like St. Marok’s. There are so many fragile things when you think about it. People break so easily, and so do dreams … and hearts.

    We wrap our dreams carefully deep inside us so that when they are crushed no one sees the bleeding but ourselves. And our hearts? They are the lonely graveyards for all the dreams that could have been … but weren’t. Perhaps that is why Sister Ameal seldom smiles. The weight of memory keeps the corners of her lips down.

    What of me?

    Once I overheard Headmaster Stearns speak of me to the last librarian:

    “If you were to try and pick him out of a group of boys, you’d be wrong. He’d be the other one. Over at the side. The one your eye slipped over.”

    That was all right. To be noticed at St. Marok’s was to die … not young … you aged quickly at this place ,,, but to die before you could get the hell out of here.

    I don’t know why I bother telling you any of this. No one gets the emotional jolt from hearing your life story as you did living it. They hear the details, not all of course, for nothing bores a person so much as hearing the dregs of another’s hurts.

    People don’t get how the death of one dream, the stinging betrayal of one hope, can color, not just one day, but a whole life. Unless it is their dream, their hope, their life.

    But let me get back to Miss Mayfair’s smile. It is worth getting back to, and its memory warmed many a bleak day for me.

    She smiled wider. “So, this is the young man to whom I owe my rescue?”

    I shook my head. “I just pointed out that Mr. Stearns lied about you not being here, ma’am. It was your father and a few of his men that did all the heavy lifting.”

    Her face flinched as if this might have been one of the first times she’d been called “ma’am.” I felt much the same way some time later when I had been called “sir.” Of course, I had been posing as someone much older. But I am getting ahead of myself. That happens a lot when you travel through time.

    Some claim that I was a madman, and some think that I was just a man with very special powers. But they all miss the point. Whatever I was … and am, I changed the world … or Sentient did through me.

    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dark caverns of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was but fluff. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

    I am a dangerous man … and Sentient even more so for not being a man.

    Miss Mayfair obviously saw none of that as her smile warmed. “How old are you, Mr. Blaine?”

    She quickly held up a long-fingered hand. “No, don’t tell me. It does not matter, for I hear Stearns held you back in school two years running for some imagined slight or other.”

    I myself felt the slights were not so imagined. I could have a sharp tongue. I never lost sleep over that fact.

    Her fingers became a contemplative nest for her chin. “Stearns, even Sister Ameal, say they can never recall your face once you leave them.”

    She shook her head. “I do not see how that is possible. Your hair seems all colors, a grove of trees in autumn, deep brown, and wine-red.”

    Miss Mayfair chucked softly, ”An untrimmed tangle across the top of your head. Your cheeks pale without being anemic. Full lips eternally in an amused smile at some jest only you hear. You look like a friend; like someone you have known all your life.”

    Sister Ameal looked as uncomfortable as I felt. I was reconsidering applying for this job. Then, I reminded myself that often we don’t see things as they are, but as we are … or what our needs are.

    Life is all illusion.

    We simply do not have enough facts to understand life. Not really. The word “illusion” comes from the Latin “illude,” which means to mock or to deceive.

    There is an optical illusion about every person we meet. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them.’ It’s an illusion. We are all human beings.

    Well, except for Sentient.

    I had made it this far at St. Marok’s through luck and pluck. I was running about a quart low on pluck. And Luck was merely another illusion, trusted by the ignorant and chased by the foolish. I tried to be neither one.

    It was as good a fool’s errand as any other.


    What do you think of it so far?

    And Yay! I sold another audio book.

    Monday, May 29, 2023



    Call me the Turquoise Woman

    My names have been so many over the eons. 

     Even I have forgotten some of them by which fearful two-leggeds spoke of me.

    Poor two-leggeds 

    You think you know so much, but so much of what you know is sadly not true at all.

    And Reality has no mercy on those who walk unwise paths.

    You can only know what you have experienced.
    And what you have experienced
     is so little
    and so little of that is seen 
    for that which it truly is.

    You often see only that which you expect to see and are blind to that which is outside your framework of thought.

    I look out from my consciousness surrounding this planet that is my body,

    and my horizon spans the swimming bodies of my sisters who wheel in their sweeping dance of gravity about Father Sun.

    And You?

    Your minds are much like unfinished songs.

    And nothing makes you so aware of the fragility of life as songs unfinished.


    We are all songs unfinished.

    We start with names ... 

    but what illusions are names.  

    You look about you and think you see me, but you do not even see yourselves.

    You perceive yourselves as myths you breathe into being 

    within your minds to mask the truth you are loathe to stare upon too closely.

    The Lakota called me the Turquoise Woman.  

    The Greeks called me Gaia.  

    The Ancient Egyptians called me Hathor.

    I call all of you temporary.  Some I call cherished.  

    Many of you are merely a rash that itches all across my surface.

    Bemused, I watch you scurry over my skin, bemoaning you are bringing an end to me.  

    I would laugh were it not so tragic.

    You are merely bringing an end of life to yourselves.


    A firefly's flicker in the night,

    the breath of a buffalo in winter,

    a cloud shadow that races across the green grass to lose itself in the blood-red of the sunset. 

    Do not try to understand me.

    I look, not only down upon you,

    but out across the vast glittering sea of eternal night.

    The colors of my thoughts are the Northern Lights

    and the reach of them is from horizon to horizon and unto the vastness of the stars.

    The electro-magnetic field of my body gave birth to my consciousness

    long before there were human hands to chisel stone into mute, blind idols

    or to brush your world in blood on cave walls.
    Your only true contribution to me was your language.

    Before you crafted words into being, my consciousness was unfocused.

    I listened with wonder as you spoke to one another,

    slowly piecing the concept of language together in my thoughts.

    Through the prism of your languages, my awareness crystalized.

    I became aware.

    Now, I know a haunted melancholy. 

    Like a windmill's blades, my thoughts dip into my memories.

    In misty after-images, 

    I see your fleeting lives walking prayer-soft across my green fields only to fade into the inflamed oblivion of the sunset. 

    No, rather try understanding yourselves and the boiling storms within you.

    If you come close to self-awareness, you will better understand those about you ...

    who are stumbling in the darkness of their own refusal to see life in all its facets.


    Your narrative identity is the story of your life; but it is more than just a story. 

    How you understand your narrative frames both your current actions and your future.


    This enables you to focus on the important things in your life, not just the immediate.


    All two-leggeds have traits that others see, but you are unable to see in yourselves. 

    I call these "blind spots."

     Do you see yourself as others see you? 

    If not, you can address these blind spots by receiving honest feedback from people you trust.


    It will help you to forgive others. 


    Live well. 
    Soon I will miss you.

    If you want to see more of the 

    listen to THE LAST SHAMAN:
    Only $6.08!

    OR Listen to 

    GHOST IN THE NIGHT_A Memorial Day reflection


    It was that moment between waking and dream. I was sitting on my apartment terrace. The night spoke to me in its velvet silence.

    Owl happily was not speaking my name. He perched on the cypress branch opposite me, studying me as I was admiring him.

    Brother raccoon scurried into the bushes below, carrying some prize in his front right paw.

    My ghost cat, Gypsy, twitched her tail on the window sill, the mysteries of ages whispering in her half-closed, green eyes.

    My own eyes were heavy. Too many miles driven. Too few hours slept.

    I put the period to the last sentence of my blog post about Marlene Dietrich with the troops in the front lines during WWII :


    One afternoon after VE Day, she was walking through a little French village. All around her was rubble, and she couldn't understand why -- all the buildings along the street were still standing with curtains blowing frilly and snapping clean-crisp in their windows.

    Then, she looked through one of the windows to see that there was nothing behind it. The fronts of the buildings were still standing, but everything behind them had been destroyed. There wasn't a single living person past the false fronts of those caricature buildings.

    Only one lone doll lay forlorn in the rubbled middle of nothing.

    With her face cupped in trembling hands, she stood in front of that window, weeping silently, refusing to be comforted ...

    "... for there is no comfort for the dead," she whispered.

    Beside me a husky voice intoned, "Keine Komfort für die Toten."

    I went cold and still, sliding my eyes as far to the right as they could go without moving my head. My mouth became salt.

    Marlene Dietrich.

    In a frilly black night wrap and not much else.

    She was perched over the top of a wavering, insubstantial leather chair like a cougar ready to strike.

    "You write so beautifully of me. Why?"

    "Y-You were brave, selfless -- entertaining the troops on the front lines with a death sentence from Hitler on your head."

    I cleared my fear-thick throat. "People have forgotten that."

    She reached out and stroked my cheek with chill fingers.

    "It is not important for the world to remember me -- only that I did not forget myself when I was needed."

    "And words like that are why I write of you."

    Marlene fluffed my hair with ghost fingers. It tickled.

    "Do you know what they call you in the ShadowLands, liebling?"


    "Sänger von Träumen -- DreamSinger."

    "I - I don't understand."

    Her ice blue eyes hollowed. "One day you will."

    In ghost whispers, she murmured, "Death and love."


    "I thought I knew them, liebchen. I was so sure. I died. Then, I saw life with new eyes."

    She leaned forward, her eyes suddenly sparkling. "See you in your dreams, liebling."

    And like a cloud robbing me of sunlight, Marlene was gone. I was alone. Well, not quite.

    Gypsy, my ghost cat, was in my lap, yawning. It takes a lot to shake up the granddaughter of Bast.


    I meet her ghost again in GHOST OF A CHANCE:

    Amazon forces me to increase the price
    for this and other of my books
    come June 20th.